ADRIAN — ProMedica is donating 10 acres of land at its Charles & Virginia Hickman Hospital campus in Adrian Township for the future construction of a new facility for the Lenawee Humane Society.
The partnership was announced by ProMedica, which said in a news release having the Humane Society on the hospital’s campus is just another way for the hospital to promote health and wellness initiatives in the county.
“This is a great way for us to think outside the box and partner with other organizations to promote health and wellness,” Dr. Julie Yaroch, the hospital’s president, said in the release. “There are many health benefits of owning a pet or just interacting with animals. They can increase one’s opportunity to exercise, get outside and even socialize. All of which can help lower blood pressure, boost your good cholesterol, help fight depression and loneliness.
“Our campus is all about health and wellness and there are many ways to accomplish this goal and this partnership is one unique way we can support the health of our community and the pets they love.”
For Humane Society executive director Marcie Cornell, what she called a dream of hers of having a new location for the Humane Society, will soon become reality.
“This was my dream on day one of my (job) interview,” she said in an interview. “But there’s a lot of things that have to go into getting a new building.”
As of this time, Cornell said there is no date for when construction of the new shelter is expected to begin. That information will be forthcoming, she said.
The Humane Society is currently at 705 W. Beecher St. in Adrian. It has operated in that space since 1983. The Humane Society has been present in Lenawee County since 1921. The need for more space has been a concern of the shelter and its operators for some time. One of the main issues regarding space is the shelter does not have enough room to meet the demand for spay and neuter procedures. The shelter does not intend to increase its animal capacity with additional space, but it does want to increase the number of isolation rooms. These rooms are used when a stray animal is dropped off. Strays are generally isolated for five days so they do not spread possible illnesses to the general population of the shelter.
A new shelter site, according to the release, also needs to adapt and serve the community appropriately. The new site will assist more lost pets, stray animals and the good Samaritans who find them.
“We can provide resources and opportunities for community members through humane education, volunteering, workshops and more,” the release said.
Another issue with the current shelter location is it is landlocked by a busy roadway, neighboring businesses and the River Raisin.
“As the animal welfare world changes, the community needs change as well,” the release said.
Almost two years ago, it appeared as if the Humane Society was going to be relocating to a different part of Adrian.
In conversations with the city of Adrian, the city agreed to sell to the shelter 10 acres, and then an additional 2 acres, of city-owned wooded fields along M-52, near Gaslight Village Assisted Living. The land sale was approved in August 2020 by the city commission. The deal was worth $80,000 and was considered a compromise for both parties.
Cornell said a $1-an-acre deal was originally proposed by the shelter. The commission was hesitant to part ways with land at that price. The Humane Society ended up paying market value for the property. Because there was not any money transferred between the Humane Society and the city and a purchase agreement was never signed, according to Cornell, the Humane Society was not contracted into having that property for future development.
Delays in negotiations, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hampered any progress of moving forward with the land sale, Cornell said. It was during this time of delays that ProMedica began talking with the Humane Society about the possibility of relocating to the hospital’s campus.
The donation of land, Cornell said, was “unexpected.”
“As a not-for-profit agency and as an organization that does not receive a whole lot of funding we need to be good stewards of our finances,” Cornell said. “In keeping with our stewardship, how could I say no to this wonderful donation? Not only are we being gifted property from ProMedica, but we’re at least saving $80,000.”
And while the donation from ProMedica might seem too good to be true, Cornell said the Humane Society did not jump on the offer right away. Discussions were conducted, pros and cons were weighed, and insight was gathered. Some of the main concerns of relocating to the hospital, Cornell said, were animals and the public having to deal with emergency vehicle traffic such as ambulances and helicopters. Hospital staff and the Humane Society’s board of directors ironed out any of those concerns.
“This donation of land is an incredible gift not only to Lenawee Humane Society but to our entire community,” Cornell said in the release. “As our missions align to save animal lives, enrich human lives and improve your health and well-being, this partnership will have a direct impact on the physical health, mental health and overall wellness of our community.”
Steve Krause, board president for the Humane Society, said the animal shelter is “incredibly grateful” to receive the gift of land from ProMedica.
“We look forward to creating new traditions and expanding our community partnership,” Krause said in the release. “With this donation, LHS will continue achieving the goals in our vision statement, including: animal education, reducing overpopulation and homelessness, and supporting families with pets during tough times.”